Although humanity has failed to find an answer to the mother-of-all questions “What came first – chicken or egg?” we decided to pose another difficult one “In brochure design – what comes first, content or design?”

Let’s attempt an answer systematically:

The design-first approach

  • Have you been checking out the marketing collateral from #Apple’s stable? Historically, #Apple or its arch-rival #Samsung follow a very minimalistic design strategy.
  • With both brands, the hero is the product. While even the hero may change, once too often, what remains constant is their minimalistic design and one terrific punch line to support the visual.
  • #Nike is another case in point. The design is always alluring and purposefully meant to get customers to ‘#Just do it.” The copy is also short, crisp and to the point.

Content-first approach

  • For service providers, the requirement is different than product companies. Let’s consider of the #Taj Group of Hotels. Unlike product companies, they rely more on content to convey their message. Here content gets an upper hand over design.
  • Also, given the fact that a brochure allows longer interaction time to flip through the details, service companies do not want to miss any opportunity to impress the customer, hence focus primarily on the content to get their message across.
  • Horizontal classifieds platform (online marketplaces) like #Amazon and #Flipkart want to project themselves as a one-stop-destination for all your needs. Their collaterals are deigned to give an idea of the awesome ‘range’ and the multiple categories of products on display, than showcase the attributes of a single product category. Therefore, there is more width than depth to their visualisations in terms of both design and copy.
  • #Uber, the cab hailing service is another service brand with no real assets. The assets are owned by the drivers. So they do not want the cab to divert your attention. For them content is the king to creates a brand connect with a mention of keywords, such as #Ubercomfort and #Uberconvenience.

This brings us back to the start. What must come first – content or design?

At Khurana Brand & Communication, we believe that the correct answer lies somewhere in the middle. If for companies like #Apple, #Samsung and #Nike, design does all the talking; in case of service brands like the #Taj Hotels, #Uber, #Amazon or #Flipkart, the content becomes the design in order to create the right perception.

Brands cannot survive by eliminating one and relying fully on the other. This would be suicidal. However by overplaying or underplaying an element, the final impact can be strategically maximised. Which element needs to be underplayed will however depend on the brand philosophy.